Everyone needs a good night’s sleep. When your regular sleep routine gets messed up, it can affect your physical and mental health. Studies show that people’s bad sleep habits often the reason for insomnia. It makes sense then that are several bad habits you should avoid to get better sleep. So, what are the ten things to never do when you can’t sleep at night?
Primary Causes of Poor Sleep
Poor sleep habits aren’t the only reason you may have insomnia. Medical illnesses, medications, and sleep disorders all contribute to poor sleep. See if any of these situations could be the reason you aren’t sleeping well.
Medical problems may interfere with your sleep. Stress from chronic illnesses contributes to insomnia. Here are common medical issues that cause insomnia.
- Respiratory problems
- Heart problems
- Kidney disease
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Neurological disorders
- Thyroid problems
- Acute pain
If you experience insomnia because you suffer from one of these illnesses, talk with your doctor about it. Ask for advice on natural ways to help you relax when you can’t fall asleep.
Certain medications cause insomnia. It’s hard enough to have an illness that requires medication, but then to have this same medication disrupt your sleep is frustrating. Here is a list of drugs that are known to disrupt sleep.
- Allergy medications
- Asthma meds
- Birth control meds
- Cold and flu meds
- Depression meds
- Heart medications
- Hypertension medications
- Thyroid medication
Ask your doctor to adjust your prescriptions so you won’t lose sleep at night. It may involve taking the meds at a different time during the day, such as not so close to bedtime. If you are on medications, be careful taking sleep medications. They can interfere with your medicine, causing an adverse reaction.
If you have a diagnosed sleep disorder, you may experience insomnia. Conditions such as the following can cause these:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
Here are ten things to never do when you can’t sleep
If you don’t have an illness and you aren’t on medications, and you haven’t been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, you may unintentionally disrupt your sleep by doing these things.
1. Go to bed too late or too early
Going to be too early or too late at night can cause insomnia. It’s best to keep a regular bedtime routine. Try to stay up for at least 16 hours a day, followed by 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Your body clock, aka circadian rhythm, will adjust eventually to this routine, giving you better sleep better all night.
2. Have a different weekend sleeping routine
Keeping a circadian rhythm is vital to fight insomnia. Doctors suggest you keep a regular schedule for going to bed and waking up even on the weekends. Staying up later or sleeping in on the weekend can mess up your body’s sleep rhythm and disrupt your sleep.
3. Drink too much caffeine
It’s not too difficult to lose track of how many cups of coffee you drink a day, but too much caffeine guarantees insomnia. Mayo Clinic suggests that a typical, healthy adult should consume only 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. That’s about three cups of coffee per day. Which, for many people, seems like a small amount. Any more than this can upset your sleep. Don’t forget that tea, soda, and chocolate contain caffeine.
4. Forget that caffeine sticks around
Like many drugs, caffeine stays in your system for hours. Studies show that 50% of the caffeine will remain in your body for five to six hours after you drink it. If you drink coffee or soda with caffeine in the afternoon or evening, it will still be in your system when you go to bed. Even decaf coffee has some caffeine, which can prevent you from getting to sleep or sleeping soundly.
5. Think you need little sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This amount of sleep works for most people. If you are falling asleep around the same time every night and waking up each morning without an alarm clock, this is a good sleep barometer for how many hours of sleep you need.
Some people need less sleep, but there aren’t many people like this. Historically, people like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Leonardo da Vinci were known to need little sleep. Some people, like Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison, didn’t sleep much at night, but they took naps during the day.
6. Use electronics before bed
Many people think using their electronic gadget a great way to relax in the evening. Whether it’s a game on your computer or reading a book on your tablet, late-night electronics are prevalent. Scientists tell us that screen time before bed is a significant contributor to your sleep loss. Your electronic device’s screen emits a light that can interrupt your brain’s production of a chemical called melatonin. Melatonin helps you to sleep, but too little will upset your ability to sleep.
Eating heavy or spicy food near bedtime affects your sleep. Eating near your bedtime causes the release of insulin, which breaks up your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. Food in your stomach triggers your brain and interrupts your ability to sleep.
8. Exercise too close to bedtime
Physical activity right before bedtime is detrimental, falling asleep. It’s best to exercise several hours before you head off to bed and allow your body to wind down as you get closer to be. Exerciser releases your level of stress hormones that keep you awake at night.
9. Having no wind-down time
Your brain needs to transition from high activity to a more relaxed time before bed. This allows your body to re-calibrate from the awake cycle to a sleep cycle. Some suggest that giving yourself up to 45 to 60 minutes of wind-down time without electronics, television, or exercising can impact your sleep significantly. So let’s break it down like this: